Ballet Stars
Making rhythm fascinating. Peck in Who Cares? Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

Carefree and confident, New York City Ballet's Tiler Peck lights up the stage in “Fascinatin' Rhythm," one of the principal solos in Balanchine's Who Cares? “It's one of my favorites," she says. “Every time I perform it, I feel like I'm doing it for the first time." Choreographed for Patricia McBride in 1970, “Fascinatin' Rhythm" requires impeccable technique and serious musicality to show off George Gershwin's jazzy rhythms. Here, Peck shares how she makes the solo such a showstopper.

Musicality Matters

“Musicality is number one," says Peck. “It's the driving force behind the whole variation." She recommends finding moments of stillness to contrast faster movements. In the first section, Peck sustains her piqué coupé to plié, “because it makes the hitch-kick afterward seem that much more surprising." Before the slow sultry section, she pauses before slinking into another pose. “You can be still in the midst of the crazy-fast solo and show another facet of your dancing."

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Fast and furious: Amy Aldridge performing In the middle, somewhat elevated. Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy PAB.

Created for the Paris Opéra Ballet in 1987, William Forsythe's In the middle, somewhat elevated combines fierce attitude and athleticism with an edgy electronic score. Here, Pennsylvania Ballet principal Amy Aldridge gives advice on tackling the role
originated by Sylvie Guillem.

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Poised and professional: Miami City Ballet's Jennifer Lauren. Photo by D. Azoulay, Courtesy MCB.

During my years as a principal with San Francisco Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet, it made me cringe if new corps members pulled out their phones to text or tweet. It felt unprofessional in the middle of class, but it was especially disrespectful during rehearsal, even if they weren't involved in the scene being danced.

Something like checking your phone in the studio may not seem like a big deal, but small mistakes like these add up. If you're not careful, you could offend other dancers, or worse, send the wrong message to the artistic staff. The transition from star student to new corps member can be difficult to navigate, but don't start off your first year with an unprofessional impression. Even little things could jeopardize your success.

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